The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s focus on the climate issue was not an intellectual luxury or a theoretical thesis, but a sense from the Kingdom of its leading role at the regional and international levels, in light of its influence and practical presence in various international events and forums at the political, diplomatic and economic levels.
Practical initiatives and proactive awareness
The Kingdom’s launched previous climate initiatives as on October 27, 2017, Saudi Aramco joined the “Oil and Gas Companies Climate Initiative,” during which it reiterated its keenness to invest in new and promising technologies to reduce emissions.
This included flobal executives of oil and gas companies, and a number of key leaders in the energy and climate sectors during the third annual Forum of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative.
Aramco also supported the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative to introduce new measures, meet climate challenges at its fifth annual conference in the United States of America, in which Aramco participated, and the initiative confirmed that it is making progress in reducing methane emissions.
On the level of comprehensive practical initiatives, Prince Muhammad bin Salman, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, announced, last March, the “Green Saudi Arabia” and “Green Middle East” initiatives, to outline the direction of Saudi Arabia and the region in protecting land and nature and placing them on a “road map.”
Green Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is scheduled hosted, in the capital, Riyadh, from October 23 to 25, the inaugural edition of the “Green Saudi Initiative Forum” and the “Green Middle East Initiative Summit”, which are the two initiatives announced by Prince Muhammad bin Salman that garnered global interaction. This event precedes the COP26 climate summit to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, amid great challenges.
The forum will discuss the file: “oceans, atmosphere, space and the waterfront”, as well as species of organisms and ecosystems, in conjunction with the presentation of a feasibility study on “the circular bio-economy”, and the “role of cities in building sustainable societies”, in addition to addressing “access to financing mechanisms”.
Saudi Arabia, a role model
The Kingdom’s international and regional action on climate issues is consistent with local efforts, which have provided a role model for the world in paying attention to environmental and biodiversity issues, taking the necessary measures and implementing the necessary projects, towards an “economy of reliance on renewable energy” and reducing carbon emissions.
On the legal level, the Kingdom enacted the “General Regulation for the Environment”, which stipulates the obligation of the concerned authorities to conduct environmental assessment studies at the stage of feasibility studies for projects “that may have negative effects on the environment.”
Rather, the regulation established tasks and responsibilities for educational, media and religious institutions; in order to take measures that would preserve the environment, the system included explicit provisions on the criminalization of “polluting the environment”.
Active Security Measures
The Kingdom’s local interest in the environment has reached to the extent of applying security confrontation with any violations against the applicable regulations, as the “Special Forces for Environmental Security” carry out the tasks of monitoring, tracking and apprehending violators of the laws and regulations in force in this regard, while criminalizing the circulation of firewood.
The Kingdom has also inaugurated the “National Center for Wildlife”, whose vision, since its inception, is to “take over the tasks of developing and implementing plans to address threats to wildlife on land and sea, and rehabilitate species that have become extinct from the wild and species threatened with extinction, aiming to restore the ecological balance of natural ecosystems.” .
The contents of the Saudi vision
The vision of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on climate issues is based on being one of the major influencers in the oil and energy market, as well as recalling its historical role towards human progress and providing the pillars of modern civilization to the whole world. Being a vital source of oil, and therefore it complements that leading role with participation, launching initiatives and active presence, with regard to climate and environmental issues.
The Saudi interest in environmental issues and climate change reflects an inspiring experience of a country whose leadership has realized the value and richness of its natural resources and wealth. The Kingdom also calls for paying higher attention to one of the most important pillars of its human existence, which is the environment, with practical measures that guarantee the safety of humanity from any future aggravation caused by the repercussions of pollution and emissions, which the world may pay a heavy price for, if ignored and not addressed with effective proactive measures.